The Guilford County Board of Commissioners had scheduled a work session for Thursday afternoon, August 17.

However, that meeting – which was to include a discussion on a host of new perks and benefits for county employees – has been canceled.

The subject of new benefits for employees has already been delayed this year.  When County Manager Mike Halford brought the suggestions for the new perks to the Guilford County Board of Commissioners two months ago, the board decided to put the discussion on hold until after a 2023-2024 fiscal budget was adopted.

This work session cancellation – a very rare thing for the board to do – means that discussion won’t take place this month either.

Other items on the agenda included proposed increase in funding for Guilford Technical Community College (GTCC) and a discussion on the county’s efforts to prepare for Medicaid expansion in the state.

Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Skip Alston said on Wednesday, Aug. 16, that the cancellation was largely due to the fact that three of the board’s nine commissioners couldn’t make it to the work session.

The board has had plenty of work sessions in the past with only six members present – as well as some with just a quorum of five in the room.  However, Alston said, Halford wanted to give the presentation on the new perks for county employees at a time when all of the commissioners could hear it.

Halford has been seeking more paid time off for caregiver leave, bereavement leave, and parental school leave for his employees, and he also wants to change – to the employees’ benefit – the way vacation days are accrued. In addition, Halford has been asking the board to up the amount of yearly tuition reimbursement that employees get for continuing their education.  Currently, they get $600 a year and Halford hopes to see the annual amount raised to $1,800.

Guilford County employees already get time off for caregiver and bereavement leave due to the Family and Medical Leave Act. However, staff wants those days off to be paid days rather than unpaid.

Over the last three years, the county commissioners have been amazingly generous to the county’s roughly 3,000 employees when it comes to pay and benefits. However, when this discussion took place previously in early June, several commissioners made it clear that they were concerned about giving the employees too many days off each year.